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The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment$
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Christopher J. Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748645329

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645329.001.0001

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. Markets, Law and Politics

. Markets, Law and Politics

(p.90) 4. Markets, Law and Politics
The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher J. Berry

Edinburgh University Press

At the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment ‘idea’ of a commercial society is a series of conceptual connections: between, firstly, the impersonality of commercial exchange and the rule of law as ‘no respecter of persons’ and between, secondly, commercial inter-dependence and legal/political independence from the authority of specified individuals. These connections explain why justice has such a central place in the Scots’ writings. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how/why the implementation of justice is seen as a key task of a government and by extension what other functions government can properly play in a commercial society (a matter of contemporary debate).

Keywords:   Law, Justice, Politics, Exchange, Inter-dependence

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